The day before our appointment to see a paediatrician I wrote this post about hoping to be taken seriously and in general just hoping to get some answers.
I wasn't nervous at all about this appointment which was a good sign. I really didn't know what to expect and ever since I knew we were going to visit our paediatrician I tried to research what may happen. Everyone visits these professionals for different reasons but just to find a personal account of what a parent could expect as a rough guide would've been really comforting to me. As an anxious person, I really like to know what I'm facing so I can feel more in control! I'm writing this partly as a memory for my blog, partly as an insight into what may happen when other parents are meeting their paediatrician for the first time and it will also become part of a page that I'm setting up now we know that Little A most likely has Sensory Processing Disorder.
I received my letter for appointment 3 months after my meeting at nursery with a member of staff from the Special Educational Needs (S.E.N) department. I phoned to confirm Little A's appointment at my local outpatient health clinic and waited for Thursday morning to roll around. If your child is old enough to understand i'd recommend talking to them about this appointment before you go (if you think this would be helpful) Little A didn't really understand but I told him we were seeing a special doctor.
When we entered the room, which was a basic GP surgery room with the usual equipment, bed and what not, Little A sat nearest the desk where he would soon be able to do some puzzles and drawing for the paediatrician. I was asked to clarify how old A was (very nearly 4) we spoke about a few points that were in the report from the nursery and the S.E.N department, just confirming the points and discussing how he has been getting on. At this point I mentioned the list I had brought with me (please do this parents and carers!) after a few more minutes of talking she suggested she look over this list I had put together (2 sides of A4 detailing any behaviours I could think of) immediately she asked if I heard of sensory processing. I said that I had recently come across it on line and found a processing disorder which I felt was so like my son and wanted to mention in the session today. I was given very little detail and was told they wouldn't diagnose it per-say because of his age (lots of children dislike their hair being brushed and teeth cleaned etc so it's difficult but based on other details I had written it was a case of 'this is what is most likely going on with your son.')
Little A was quite keen to interact with his doctor and after a short while his height and weight were taken (all normal) and we spoke about his eating which she confirmed was common behaviour in S.P.D, only liking very certain foods, not having a very broad range of likable foods or disliking the foods touching for example) she got A to jump and hop and balance which was all normal for his age and development. Then she spoke to Little A about the pictures he had drawn ( a spider and Olaf) with some input from myself. She spoke about his speech and I said that I'm happy to continue with speech therapy because he has come such a long way. She agreed and felt developmentally wise physically he is doing great, it is just his speech and communication that is behind.
Then Little A did some colour matching. He performed this very well, only getting 3 colours mixed up. He couldn't tell her the names of any colours but that was expected. He then did 2 simple puzzles perfectly. Seems he's achieved the goals that were set after our first meeting at nursery now I re read it! Excellent! Anyway, these were the only activities A had to participate in. We spoke about his sleep as this is a big problem for us. The only thing we can really conclude is that he has trouble when transitioning from periods of light and deep sleep. There isn't a cure, just some things we can try. I'll have to accept this as a long term problem with A and hope that one day soon he can grow out of it, could be a while!
To conclude the meeting, the paediatrician felt there were no other behavioural problems to deal with and I admitted that I felt the same but felt sure there was 'something' and Sensory Processing Disorder fits very well and means I can work with A better. We are getting A referred to an Occupational Therapist which is a common process as I understand with S.P.D in both children and adults. Hopefully we can learn what A can stand and what he really dislikes, although we are already discovering some main causes of distress.
The whole appointment for us lasted 45 minutes and was a friendly and relaxed appointment. I left feeling helped and hopeful. A was very restless by the end of it and very bored so it ended at the right time! I'm going to be doing more writing about S.P.D. I've found some blogs I want to share and to write about our own journey with A as it's all so very different; one thing I have learnt already!
Helpful Pointers For Your First Paediatric Appointment
* If you feel it's helpful, talk to your child about the upcoming appointment and what may happen if they're old enough to understand.
* If it helps your child, try to arrive a little earlier than needed (more to get used to the environment than anything else)
* Avoid anything stressful beforehand. I had to leave very early and do a nice activity with A before our appointment just so we could go slow. If A felt rushed he would've been in a foul mood and our meeting would've been very different!
* Do take a list with you. Try to be as specific as possible and don't worry about looking silly, you won't be the first nor the last person to take one of these lists with you!
* Re read any forms and reports you have prior to your meeting and even take them with you just in case. Your paediatrician will probably have the same reports as you so it's good to re read them, I tend to put them in my file and not re read for a while!
* Ask for notes. During our meeting several products and a website were mentioned which the paediatrician wrote down for me so I could look into them. I would've never remembered them as well as all the information!
* Sometimes if your child is under 5 your Red Book can be useful. It wasn't in our case but I know some clinics ask for them so it's worth checking.
* Your first appointment can vary from 30 minutes to an hour, it all depends on what you're being seen for. I'd make sure you prepare for that and also a small wait just in case. Taking some bits for your child if they're young or you know they are likely to get bored in this time (like some juice, a snack for before or after or something they find comforting) could help you.
Good luck with your appointments and if I've missed anything please let me know and I'll add them above!